Grains Research and Development

Date: 01.07.2013

Nitrogen fixation and N benefits of chickpeas and faba beans in northern farming systems

Front page Nitrogen Fixation and N benefits of chickpeas and faba beans in northern farming systems thumbnail image

Northern grain growers sowed about 450,000 hectares of chickpeas and 30,000 hectares of faba beans in 2012, resulting in the fixation of about 35,000 tonnes of nitrogen (N) worth $55 million in fertiliser N equivalence.

Key Points

  • The scale of N and economic benefits from growing a legume is determined by grain yield, the amount of legume biomass and the C:N ratio of the legume residue.
  • Well-grown pulses will fix 80 to 120kg N/ha, increase soil nitrate levels by 30 to 40kg N/ha and boost the grain yield of the following wheat crop by 0.5 to 1.5t/ha.
  • Nitrogen fixation of chickpeas and faba beans is enhanced by good agronomy, soil management and inoculation.
  • Faba beans are more efficient at fixing N than chickpeas, principally because of their nitrate tolerance. 

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Region North